Mordhau is an addicting game with a lot to learn if players aim to survive the brutal clash of steel and bodies. This guide is going to focus primarily as a starter guide for players who want to wield two-handed weapons, presented through a discussion of Playstyle, Weapons, and Armor.
As of from May 15, the developers released a patch to make kicking more effective against players that are using shields to block attacks. In sum, “kicks now have more range against active held blocks and recovery. This will significantly increase range of kicks against shields and fist block only (Doesn’t affect parries/timed blocks).” There is also “increased kick tracer width slightly (making it more reliable in facehug range).”
This means that punishing players who sit and spam block is going to be easier, and will encourage more aggressive playstyles from everyone.
This is something that might take a while to figure out. Do you favor single combat, or group scraps? Are you the player who charges into the front line? Are you the one slightly behind, waiting to see how the action unfolds? Or, are you the one who thinks they are a rogue, flanking the enemy from the side or from behind?
Each of these questions will help determine which weapons help you shine, and how much armor or maneuverability you may require. Keep this in the back of your mind as we cover some of the best weapons for a number of different situations.
Embracing Your Inner Conan: 2-Handed Weapons
Some weapons shine more when used properly in group combat. The Zweihander and the Spear are excellent choices for these kinds of situations, and both cost 10 points to equip.
Both of these weapons offer excellent range in different ways. The Spear has the longest reach in the game. A simple and effective technique is to use that range to harass enemies with poke, and then step back among or behind teammates. The enemy will then need to deal with your allies, or they might even rush you, dying quickly and needlessly before even reaching you. It is a ridiculous tactic that works far too often, so stab away and try to find the target that can be easily provoked into responding mindlessly.
The Zweihander offers great support if you find landing the Spear stab an issue. It exchanges that precise accuracy for wide-arced slashes that can hit numerous enemies. It is slow, but it is meant to deal terrible damage in the safety of numbers.
A quick note on the Halberd, as it is also a great weapon that can output massive damage from a good range. But at 11 points, and another 1 point for a backup Dagger/Cleaver/Shortsword, you are left with so little for perks or armor, leaving you in an overly vulnerable state compared to the previous two weapons without any real advantage over the other choices.
Next up are weapons in the 7-8 point range that offer greater balance between team and solo fighting, but are mainly better in large groups.
First, the Maul (7 points) and the Eveningstar (8 points) play into a type of class fantasy that aims to deal massive and unforgiving blunt-force trauma. With a little practice at getting a proper hit to the head, both weapons will leave your enemies a bloody pulp, particularly if you look for those players who choose not to wear any form of helmet protection. However, these are not weapons beginners can easily pick up. Blunt weapons require precise hits, as they stop on hit (unless you kill an enemy) due to the hitstop mechanic, while bladed weapons drag and hit multiple grouped enemies at once.
With that in mind, a weapon that is effective but also considerably more forgiving is the Greatsword (7 points). It is smaller and less damaging than the Zweihander, but functions in a similar way with more points to put into armor or additional gear. A good mix of slashes in long mode and stabs provide versatility without the slowness of the more expensive weapons.
Both the Poleaxe (7 points) and the Bardiche (8 points) offer decent range for stabs, but despite the difference in points, it would likely benefit a player to master the Spear and stick with that. The skillset to use all three weapons is similar, so pick up the one with the greater range if you find yourself using the weapons in that manner. Using the Bardiche for its normal swing is otherwise effective against all armor types, but again, this is more of a supporting weapon, and the Spear feels stronger in most cases.
It's Time To Duel!
In general, 5-6 point weapons are superior for the individual duel if both players are even in skill, purely because they offer speed. However, they are perfectly viable in team fights as well.
This is a great time to point out how important it is to learn the speed of different weapons. A common point made in online discussions about weapon selection is that once players use both the Longsword or the Messer (5 points each), they come to realize how bloody slow the previous weapons feel in comparison, but may not have noticed at first. If dueling is your style, or quick flanking and immediate retreat, the speed with which these weapons move can help you quickly kill almost any light-armor foe, such as archers not checking their sides.
Other options in the 5-point range are the Billhook, which is an interesting weapon in that it can stab like a spear with less range, and is the only weapon capable of dismounting riders. A fun side note is that hitting riders with an arrow through the eye does often kill them, but they stay on the horse, their bodies sort of flopping about.
Those weapons are in essence the best choices for beginner players. We did not discuss the two axes, the Estoc, or any of the fine one-handed weapons available in the 3-4 point range. I believe that the weapons covered here are an excellent launching point for the game in that there is a broad range of options for differences in playstyle, range, and speed, while also being some of the more forgiving options.
Exactly how much armor you need is entirely subjective to each player. Donning a full set of heavy armor feels intimidating and impenetrable, but you also move at the speed that EA patches bugs in their games, which is to say snail-like.
Chest armor is important because most hits will come to this area. As much as everyone likes to think they can land headshot after headshot, most of us are not the John Wicks of the Medieval world. We are much more like Red Shirt #1 through #99 in the action scenes of the film. However, helmets do help prevent when a headshot does land from killing you in a single blow.
With that in mind, here are a few of the most effective armor distributions, which you can play around with alongside any perks you may find useful.
1-3-1 (Meaning 1 point for a helmet, 3 for chest, 1 for legs): This provides mobility to weave in and out of the front lines or to flank, decent protection to the chest area, which will take most of the hits, but will still make you susceptible to the odd headshot by a large enough weapon. This would leave you with 11 points, and is ideal for the Zweihander support mentioned above, with one point to put into either a perk or a Shortsword in case you are disarmed.
1-2-0: Similar to the first, but living far more dangerously in terms of protection. Again, you will still be mobile, but now with thirteen points, you have a lot of room to experiment with weapon and perk combinations. Expect to die often however if you are not watching for flank attacks.
2-3-2: This is my favorite armor build when trying to work with new weapons. I do not recall ever being one-shot with this armor, though I do not doubt it is possible. With only 9 points to spare, you can pick up the Greatsword, which is excellent in group combat, and then either a side arm or look into perks.
We covered a lot of material in this guide, but at the same time, hardly scratched the surface. You should probably master at least one of these initial weapons before moving on.